The UN Environment Emissions Gap Report 2020 published yesterday (Wednesday 9th December) shows that all countries must urgently increase their 2030 climate targets and sharply accelerate emission cuts, as with current policies we are heading towards catastrophic climate change.
The report finds that, despite a brief decline in carbon dioxide emissions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is still heading for a temperature rise of 3°C this century, far beyond the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. This would lead to catastrophic impacts on the global ecosystem.
The report outlines ample opportunities to immediately scale up emission cuts in line with the climate emergency. If governments invest in climate action as part of pandemic recovery, commit to net-zero emission goals and adopt strong emission reduction targets for 2030, they can bring emissions to levels broadly consistent with the Paris Agreement.
The pace of emission reductions worldwide has to considerably speed up and must be increased at least fivefold for the 1.5°C pathway, the report highlights.
Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said:
“The report shows that we need to immediately ramp up our climate ambition. The massive economic stimuli together with increased emission reductions targets in the short term can still keep the world on track to reaching the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement. But there is no time to lose. EU leaders meeting at a European Council this week to adopt the new EU climate target for 2030 have a historic chance to show the world the way forward in line with science.”
The report comes just a day before the European Council on 10-11 December where EU leaders are expected to agree on the new EU 2030 climate target, followed by the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement.
Based on the latest available science and the United Nations’ equity principles, the European Union needs to reduce its emissions by at least 65% by 2030 to be in line with the 1.5°C trajectory. This is well beyond the current Commission proposal for a 2030 climate target of 55% emission cuts.